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Studies of melting ice using CO2 laser for ice drilling
Authors: Sakurai T, Chosrowjan H, Somekawa T, Fujita M, Motoyama H, Watanabe O, Izawa Y
Year: 2016
Periodical/Journal: Cold Regions Science and Technology
Volume: 121
Page Range: 11-15

A CO2 laser can be used to melt ice. Here we use a CO2 laser at 10.6 µm, a wavelength at which ice strongly absorbs, to drill (via melting) through ice. The resulting drilling speed is measured at several irradiation intensities, ice-snow densities, and beam angles relative to the horizontal axis. The speed increases nearly in proportion to the laser intensity. For an intensity of about 50 W/cm2, for instance, the melting speed is 4 mm/s for snow of density 153 kg/m3 and 0.8 mm/s for solid ice. Results also show that for downward beam angles, melt-water accumulates in the hole, reducing the drilling speed. Nevertheless, we also consider other laser mediums and argue that an optical-fiber-coupled laser drilling system could be used for drilling on glaciers and ice sheets.

DOI: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2015.09.014
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